Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s Vacation Time

Beginning Saturday, we are on vacation. Not to say the last eight months hasn’t been a vacation but this a “real” vacation. We are going camping with my parents. And when I say camping, I really mean RVing.

When my parents turned in their tent for a RV, I must admit I teased them about not being real campers any longer.

I told them when you have a bed, a TV and a kitchen, it stopped being camping and start being hoteling on wheels.

And then I went with them.

I never want to go in a tent again.

So I won’t be posting next week.

Happy Canada Day and we’ll talk soon

As a side note, thank you to Kathy Kacer for commenting on my blog. I am honoured. Second Story Press (www.secondstorypress.ca) also Twittered me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chair vs Bed


A bed is not a necessary piece of furniture. At least to those who are nursing.

As soon as my son cries, I am up and in his room, often before I am really awake. I scoop him up, I sit in the Ikea chair and before I know it he is asleep. And it turns out, so was I.

I often go back to my bed and notice a hour has gone by. I, too, must fall asleep in the chair and only awake when my son pulls off the breast or I fall so deeply asleep we both shift.

Unfortunately, as he is nursing every two hours or so, it also means I tend to only get about a hour sleep in my bed until we start the cycle again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Diaper Butt


Here is another bonus of cloth diapers: It’s a more satisfying feel when you pat your child on the bottom.

I have patted a lot of disposable diaper butts and I have now discovered it’s not nearly as satisfying a feeling as patting a cloth diaper butt.

Not only is there a lot of padding, smacking a cloth diaper butt offers a pleasant sound and a cuter look.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting My Head Around Hate

I write my blog in my head when my son is nursing during the wee hours of the morning. In my head, my blog flows freely and everything is beautifully written. Not so much in reality.

Take, for example, yesterday’s post. What I was trying to say was Kathy Kacer’s books about the Holocaust put a human face on the mass murder.

In The Underground Reporters, there was a group of friends who played with each other but by the end of Hilter’s terror, only a couple of them were reunited. When you think about your own group of friends in the same situation, you can start to imagine how terrifying (what an inadequate word) it must have been.

And how utterly pointless.

On one hand, I can’t understand how the Holocaust happened. On the other hand, I understand fear can make people, in this case, not do the right thing.

On one hand I can’t understand how you could watch your neighbour being dragged away, but on the other, the fear it would happen to you and your family makes it easy to understand why you could turn a blind eye.

I think it was in The Diary of Laura’s Twin that one of the families decided to stay in the city despite the crumbling situation because the father thought it would only get better. And when his family was being taken to one of the concentration camps, the prisoners were led to believe it was a better place to go.

I had often wondered why Jewish people didn’t flee in droves but I understand now. I also learned that some people did flee but were turned back (we should be ashamed) and some actually fought back, facing Hitler’s army with whatever they could find.

So what have we learned from the Holocaust? Apparently absolutely nothing. Why does history keep repeating itself? How can it still be happening (watch the Hotel Rwanda to see how we failed more people)? Why is there so much hate?

People need to look past the different clothing, language and customs and see the person who is working hard to provide for his children, who is worried about the future and is happy summer is finally here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Must Read


Every person - child and adult included - needs to read Kathy Kacer’s books about the Holocaust.

I studied the Holocaust in school but the pure horror of it didn’t strike home until I read The Underground Reporters and The Diary of Laura’s Twin.

The Underground Reporters is about a group of Jewish friends who create a newspaper that connects the Jewish community, particularly the children, when the kids stop being allowed to go to school or play in public, while The Diary Of Laura’s Twin tells the story of Laura, who, as part of her Bat Mitzvah, studies the diary of a girl who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Both books made the Holocaust real for me. Often when you think about things that happened in the past, you forget you are talking about real people who have parents, siblings and grandparents. Both books allowed you to get to know real people, who have the same fears and hopes you do.

Of the two books, I liked The Diary of Laura’s Twin better. It gave me a real understanding of what it must have been like to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. I really had no idea. There were passages in the book that have stayed with me, including:

“Jan. 10, 1943: Can you image what it is like to live behind barbed wire and high walls? No one can leave and no one wants to come in.”

“July 16, 1941: It’s Funny. When Hitler was deciding who would be part of his perfect race, he decided that it would only include people who were Aryna - those with blue eyes and blond hair, which is how many Germans look. If you had dark features like me and Tateh and so many Jews, you couldn’t be part of Hitler’s perfect race and you were targeted for discrimination. But here’s the thing. Mama and David are blond and delicate, while Hitler has dark eyes and a large nose. ... So in that perfect world that Hitler has imaged, Mama and David should be included while Hitler himself should be left out.”

Kathy Kacer’s books are published by Second Story Press (www.secondstorypress.ca).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, who always put his family first.

My Dad worked long hours to ensure his family was provided for, but always was there for us.

My Dad was the 6 a.m. hockey practise guy, the scout leader, the science project helper, the times table man (damn those times tables), the tobogganing hero, the camp master, the marshmallow roaster, the mosquito catcher, the spider killer, the eating-in-front-of-the-TV champion, the bike teacher, the motorcycle rider, the confidence booster, the apartment mover, the thinker, the devil’s advocate.

My Dad was never afraid to show how much he loves us. I have always known my Dad stood proudly by my side. And I stand proudly beside his. I love you.
Love Lisa


To my husband who has returned to diapers 18 years later.

Happy Father’s Day. I love that our son lights up when he hears your voice and sees your face. I love when you play together in the bathtub, wrestle on the bed and laugh over meals.

I am excited to watch our son grow together.
Happy Father’s Day.
Love Lisa

Friday, June 19, 2009

Here a Shadfly, There a Shadfly, Everywhere a Shadfly


Even though you have to walk with your mouth closed at this time of year and every time you step, you kill a dozen or so of the creatures, I can’t help but like the shadfly.

Perhaps it’s because they are dragon-like in appearance. They have patterned wings and horn-like ears and they don’t bite. A real bonus for me.

However, perhaps there is too much of a good thing. During what I like to call Shadfly Season, the air, walls, ground, water and every other surface is littered with these bugs.

I once got gas and I couldn’t move stepping or squishing one or two. To make myself feel better about these deaths, I have been known to save the shadfly from fish by plucking it out of the water and telling it to fly free.

Obviously for naught.

According to http://www.shadfly.com/story.html, these 300-million-year-old insects only live for a few hours and up to 14 days. That website offers some great information on the shadfly.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Creeping Pain


A note to gardeners: Don’t plant Creeping Jenny.

I planted a small cutting of the yellowed-flowered plant in my garden to fill in some holes and I just want to tell you it ... well, er ... creeps. Until I started digging it up yesterday, I thought plants that spread were the greatest thing in the world.

Now I feel completely different.

Not only does Creeping Jenny creep, it creeps at a furious pace, killing everything in its path.

I think my garden was destroyed over winter by this deceivingly pretty plant. At the same time, something has been eating this destroyer.

As I was yanking it up by its tons of roots, I noticed tons of blue caterpillars in my garden. I am not sure which moth/butterfly enjoys Creeping Jenny for lunch, but it will now have to check out the fire pit for its next meal.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dentist Torture

When it comes to the dentist, I am sort of like a dog at the veterinarian - absolutely terrified.

And I am not talking about nerves leading up to the big day. No, I am talking about nerves leading up to the big day plus sobbing in the chair, shoulders up around my bottom jaw, body shakes and hands clenched so hard, they are not only white, but also bent out of shape.

I have had nothing but bad experiences with dentists and that includes nice, professional, caring dentists.

I have bad teeth, terrible gums and apparently a really low tolerance for dental work pain. I spent many years hating my original dentist because I thought he pulled four teeth without freezing. It wasn’t until I had my second root canal done - and felt the entire procedure - that I realized that I had freezing, but it takes a long time for it to take effect. Let’s just say that by the time I left the chair, the freezing finally took.

I have had a lot of work done on my mouth including jaw surgery, bone graphs, implants and more. I swear I felt some of the implant work being done and I suffered a lot after my jaw surgery.

I had teeth rotting and falling out, I have sensitive teeth, my gums are receding and I have a weak stomach so the whole process, including brushing my teeth, makes me want to throw up and I spend a lot of time gagging.

So despite this fear, I still go to the dentist. And because my gums and teeth are so bad, I go more often than most - once every three months. Lucky me.

So dentists aren’t my favourite people.

We recently got a new dentist. We were happy with the old one, but his practice is in Whitby and I can’t ask my son to spend a hour in the car, a hour in the office and a hour back. It’s too far away.

So we go to a dentist who is 15 minutes away, which is fabulous. Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain and make people understand 34 years of dental misery. Eventually they will figure out that I am a nervous wreck and I will cry each time so don’t worry and just get the torture over with. I’ll see you in three months.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Talking About Poop

Everyone poops you know.

That is according to my two-and-a-half-year-old niece, who is quite interested in the subject of pooping.

My niece told me her mommy poops and Paula, her daycare provider, poops. She asked me if her little cousin poops and I told her, yes, our son does indeed poop.

I also told her I saw a robin fly by and it pooped in mid-air. Mid-air pooping. Now that’s a neat trick.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flat Busted

I once saw a card. It read: “I wanted to buy you a gift but I am flat chested.” Inside it said: “And I don’t have any money either.”

I should have bought that card.

Despite being Dutch, many women in my mom’s family have no chests - none, zip, zero.

And I love it.

I haven’t really worn a bra since I went on maternity leave in October. I would like to think I was driving home and I unsnapped my bra and flung it out the window, but I know that didn’t happen as the maternity shirts I have wouldn’t allow my to go braless. However, I know I came home that night, took off my bra, put on a tank top and have been braless since.

And it feels great.

There are many advantages to being flat chested, including:

* I don’t have to purchase expensive bras because there is nothing to hold up.
* I feel free not being stuck in a bra.
* I don’t have to worry about suffocating my son when he is nursing.
* I can sit close to the table and not worrying my breasts are resting on it.
* I don’t have to worry about bouncing breasts when exercising.
* I don't have back, shoulder or neck problems.
* I can purchase flat-busted cards.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Living with Dinosaurs


My husband has this fabulous book. It’s The Golden Book of 365 Stories (A Story for Every Day of the Year) with pictures by Richard Scarry. He received the book from his grandma and grandpa at Christmas 1971.

I have been reading it daily to our son. The stories are great - short, only a few paragraphs in length with some poetry thrown in. It’s been really fun to read the stories because they seem to work. The day I read about a man who hates the rain, it’s actually raining outside.

On May 24, a read a story about Poor Mr. Robin.

In this particular story, Mr. Robin is disappointed when he sees his new babies. In his words, his youngsters are “skinny, scrawny, nosily little babies”. He didn’t show off his new additions to the neighbouring animals until he was introduced to their children and discovered equally scrawny and noisy babies.

I can relate.

For the second year, we have a robin family at the corner of our house. The baby looks like a Teradactyl.

But when I saw him peak his little head out, it didn’t matter any more. A baby is a baby.

Congratulations robins.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Driving Pet Peeves

When you drive as much as I used to, there are things that other people do that drive you crazy - and vice versa I am sure.

The Swooper
There is nothing worse when you are driving along and some moron in a big SUV comes speeding up behind you and sits there as if waiting for you to move over. That really annoys me. I drive a Sunfire. It’s not that big. Surely if you are driving that fast, you can plan it so you can swoop around me. If not, continue speeding but slow down a safe distance away and then pass.

The Tailgater
If I can’t see your headlights, you are too close. If I have to slam on my brakes, you are going to hit me. I have a baby in the back. If you hit me, you will regret it.

The Signaller
The purpose of a signal light is to signal your INTENT to turn. Don’t put it on after you have already moved into the left-hand turn lane and perhaps you should put it on before you turn into the driveway.

The Impatient One
If you go just more than 80 kilometres per hour, you can actually stretch a tank of gas a lot longer. However, sometimes 80 feels a tad ... slow. So I tend to go about 90. If that speed is too slow for you, I understand. However, please note The Tailgater and the Swooper. Don’t make hand gestures at me. This is the speed I am travelling. Get over it. Pass me. But if tailgate me, I am going to go 80.

The Inconsistent One
I don’t care if you want to go 70 km/hr but then go 70. Don’t go 70, then 100, then 80. And if I am trying to pass you because you were going 60 but then speed up as I move to pass, that’s just rude. Saying that, I apologize. Sometimes I am inconsistent. I miss cruise control.

And a couple of other notes:

* When I took Young Drivers of Canada, the instructor told a story that has stuck with me all these years.
Someone was trying to pass a dump truck. Instead of keeping back for a clear view around the truck, he would swerve into the oncoming lane to see if it was OK to pass. It wasn’t and he hit the instructor’s friend who was in the other lane, killing him instantly.
* A couple of years after I got my license, a car-full of ex-classmates were killed when they were hit head-on by a moron who passed up a hill.
Nothing is so important that you need to pass up a hill.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Hideous


At some point in time, cute baby feet turn into old ugly feet.

Feet fall into three categories: baby, ugly and hideous.

I have hideous feet. My husband and stepdaughter think their feet are pretty, but they are wrong. Everyone’s feet are ugly. There are no exceptions.

I realize feet have a hard job.

They have to shoulder, so to speak, the weight of their person and walk, jog or run most of the time, which of course does not help in the pretty department.

We had a man come over to our house recently to fit us for orthotics. The poor man had to touch my hideous feet, followed by my stepdaugher’s ugly feet. I told him I couldn’t do his job. Touching feet! Yuck.

So you would think I would always have my feet - and everyone else’s - covered up.

Not so.

While, toe nail polish, and its fingernail polish counterpart, give me the creeps, I hate wearing socks and love nothing better than going barefoot inside or sandals out.

Even ugly feet deserve to be free.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Breaking Dawn Thoughts

My stepdaughter was right.

Breaking Dawn, the final chapter in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, was the best book in the four-part saga.

Again, Meyer has created secondary characters you truly care about. I would love to read more about the vampire friends of the Cullen’s.

However - IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THIS FAR INTO THE SERIES, DON’T READ FURTHER AS I MAY SPOIL THE ENDING FOR YOU.

However, I would have like to have seen the bad guys get it. It would be fairly easy, with that ending, for Meyer to create a Book Five with the Cullen’s and their friends having to fight the Italian vampires yet again.

And that really is my only complaint with this book - at the beginning, it really was more of the same.

When I found out that Bella was pregnant and Edward wasn’t happy about it, I wondered if Meyer was going to split the couple again.

So when my stepdaughter asked me how I was liking the book, I replied it was “All right”. I was anxious about reading another book where the couple splits because of lack of communication. That really frustrates me.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I continued reading to find Edward sticking my Bella’s side despite their difference of opinion.

Good for Meyer and good for the reader who gets to see characters who truly develop and an entire new story emerge.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It’s a Real Nail Biter

I started biting my nails again when our son was born.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


In the words of Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, here are some of my favourite things:
* Anything to do with my son (giggle, smile, his look of determination, his toes, etc.)
* My favourite little people
* A book so good you can’t put it down
* Sound of water lapping the shore
* Smell of cold flour
* Sound of rain on a tin roof
* Smell of baking bread
* Smell of cut grass
* Good-quality chocolate
* Any chocolate
* Feeling warm
* Snow days
* Smell of lilacs

Friday, June 5, 2009

Remembering a Friend


Friends S and NK’s beloved dog died recently.

It’s a terrible thing to lose a pet. People who don’t appreciate animals don’t really understand that losing a pet is the same thing as losing any other family member. When an animal dies, you still need to go through the entire grieving process.

We put our childhood dog down almost 10 years ago.

While I no longer cry and the ache is gone, I still miss Buffey. That’s not quite correct. She is like a happy memory. I can think about her and remember the childhood times spent exploring the river, the trails behind my parents’ house or simply sitting with her.

She was a great comfort to me. While I now have Sylvester, and he is just as much a dog or a child as he is a cat, he isn’t as understanding as Buffey was. You could wrap your arms around Buffey’s neck and cry, and she would give you a lick now and then and nudge you to make sure you were OK.

So despite the happy times I had with Buffey, and the length of time she has been gone, I am still not ready for another dog.

And that is another thing that non-animal lovers don’t understand; pets aren’t so easily replaced.

My condolences, again, to the K’s. I am thinking of you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Road Trip




If you are looking for something to do this weekend, I suggest a road trip to Lake Mitchell.

My husband and I discovered Lake Mitchell on one of our many bike road trips.

Now is a perfect time to go because the road that leads to the lake is lined with dozens of lilac bushes and the smell is just fabulous.

The same road is really cool as it is surrounded on both sides by water.

According to a quick Internet search, Lake Mitchell is also great place to go fishing (https://www.fishinghotspots.com/e1/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=61&idproduct=190 and http://www.cruising.ca/trent/docs/L-35b.html).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raving About Cloth




My friend, TU-B, used them for her two boys and once we decided to go the same route, she took us to her favourite Bloor West Village diaper store, Diaper-eez(http://www.diaper-eez.com), for a bit of shopping. (The website has lots of information for those thinking about going cloth.)

The reason we decided to use cloth was mainly cost; I bought infant and toddler diapers, infant diaper wraps and a diaper pail for about $300. The only additional cost is the diaper liners, which can be flushed if you aren’t on a septic system, and larger sized diaper wraps.

Now that we have been using cloth for seven months, I also love the fact that we are leaving a smaller environmental footprint. We can compost our diapers here, but it is nice knowing we are purchasing and throwing out less.

I use Chinese cotton prefold diapers, folded in thirds (you fold differently for girls because boys and the sexes pee differently) and line them with a Kushies (http://www.kushies.com/) diaper liner. What is great about Kushies is that the products are made in Canada.

When another friend, AC, learned I was going cloth, she sent me unbleached prefolds, which we actually like better than the bleached variety. The unbleached diapers had to be washed a number of times before using but are super soft.

The diaper is held together by a Kushies diaper wrap with Velcro fasteners. My advice is to open the packages of wraps before you buy them. I bought six wraps and only two are true rubber pants that catch urine, allowing me to only change our son’s diaper once throughout the night.

I do laundry every other day or so, which isn’t so bad. And now that spring is here, the diapers get hung out on the line to dry.

I love my cloth diapers and encourage others to give them a try.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Deer on The Run

My husband and I were chatting on Sunday when he did a double take and shouted “Deer. Our son was nursing and by the time I had carefully turned to look, the deer had disappeared and my husband was out the door. He was looking down the road when I noticed the deer at the boat launch. My husband didn’t notice until my tapping on the glass and pointing caught his attention. This time the deer did run down the road. My husband followed, then came back for the camera. Apparently, there were two deer and both had hopped the neighbour’s fence and were trapped in his backyard. My husband captured this short video before both, thankfully, jumped back over the fence and fled in opposite directions.
video

Monday, June 1, 2009

And Then There Was Darkness

We had a power outage over the weekend.

What it proved is that we are completely unprepared for an emergency.

While we faired better than most as far as lots of extra water for things like flushing the toilet (we are on a well, which means if there is no power there is also no water), cooking and drinking, we also had a battery, which powered a radio and a light, as well as candles and flashlights.

However, the flashlights, we discovered, weren’t where we thought they were and when we eventually found them, the batteries were either dying or dead, and we did have to search around for the candles. And we don’t have any matches.

While we have a generator, which powered the freezer and the sump pump, we wouldn’t have had enough gas to last the entire outage if the outage wasn’t just on our street. That would have meant questionable food and a flooded basement.

In time for the next power outage, we require:
* Flashlights with working batteries
* The rain barrel attached and working properly
* A battery-operated backup sump pump
* Candles and matches in a secure location
* Gas for the generator

The Canadian Government also suggests people have the following in case of an emergency:

* Two litres of water per person per day, plus water for pets
* Three-day supply of food (including pet food) that will not spoil (remember to replace the food and water at least once a year)
* Manual can opener
* Battery-powered or windup radio, plus extra batteries
* First aid kit
* A "grab and go" bag with a two-week supply of medications
* Cash (or travellers cheques) in small bills, change for telephones
* Contact information and other important documents (license, birth certificate, passport, etc.) stored in a waterproof container
* Change of clothing and footwear for each family member

Visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/life-vie/emerg-urg-eng.php to learn more about preparing for an emergency.